I’m OK with the way Chris Rock handled this. His jokes expressed some empathy with the victims, laid bare his own fears, and criticized the trend of commercializing holidays. I don’t think any topic should be automatically off limits to comedy no matter the context, though some, like terrorist attacks, certainly need to be handled carefully or you’re going to be ridiculously offensive. I think he handled it well.
I can’t blame people who take a more negative view, though.
The Fox people I think were a bit too lenient, as if comedic intent automatically voids offensiveness. It doesn’t. I’ll give a comic a little more leeway- comedy, to be at its best, often has to push against boundaries. But that doesn’t absolve a comic, it just gives them a little more of a chance to clarify/apologize/otherwise make things right when they step over the line than, say, a journalist might get.
The ISIS comments, though, do point to them maybe having a more nuanced view. They didn’t get into it much, and i haven’t seen that segment, so I don’t have much thoughts on that.